Friday, March 11, 2016

Civic Duty

Last Monday I reported for jury duty.  I wasn't annoyed or agitated about being called in.  Rather I was excited to perform my civic duty and be a responsible American. I checked in with the courthouse and patiently waited with hundreds of people to see my name in a group.  The suspense was killing me, but not as much as the expensive weird airport like seats were.  I sat quietly, eavesdropping on the whiners and complainers and all along thinking, "if for some God forsaken reason I was on trial, 12 of these people would be responsible for my fate".

Finally after 2 hours all of the names were put up on the screen.  Naturally I was in Group A and I was given 30 minutes to grab a snack and move my car.  I met a nice woman who was parked near me so we moved our cars to all day parking, grabbed a coffee and got comfy waiting for the fates of the groups.  If you know anything about court it is this- they are never on time.  Never!  After another hour of waiting, my group was called to a courtroom and the jury selection started.

Here is where I started to get annoyed and agitated...  The judge was a very no nonsense (he issued two bench warrants for jurors who didn't return from break on time) sort of fellow, which I approve of and respect very much.  I believe in direct, cut the crap terms.  These other potential jurors must have missed this about him and they all went into the questionnaires as if it were a damn therapy session not jury duty.   I had a hard time not rolling my eyes and keeping my mouth shut.  Through the process, I found that everyone knows someone who has been a victims of abuse, while this is sad and unfortunate I also wondered how many of these people were stretching their truths to get out of being there.

After hours upon hours of this crap we were released for the day only to have to return the next day for more questions.  Tuesday wasn't much better, but I believe the judge had enough of the whining and crying crap and Tuesday went by much quicker although not by much.  I was finally dismissed around 4 pm on Tuesday and left with a new outlook on jury duty.

I understand that it is a pain in the ass and no one wants to end up sentencing an innocent person or worse, letting a criminal go, but the truth is- jury duty is our job as Americans. It is so important to show up with a mind open to the facts of the case.  As a society, we need to separate our feelings from the truth of facts and base the conclusions strictly on facts.  Sitting in the jury selection room I found myself becoming angry with my fellow Americans, because so many of them were openly prejudice, hateful, and ignorant. I truly hope none of them are ever in the defendant's seat, but then again, maybe that is what it would take to open their eyes to the injustices their own brains created.